TORONTO, Sept. 8 /CNW/ – Fletcher Nickel Inc. (TSX: FL) reports that the compilation of data from its drilling campaign at the Texmont Mine has been concluded and modeled and that initial metallurgical and refining test results have also been received.
Large-tonnage near-surface Nickel resource extends north of Texmont Mine
The geological assessment of the data has determined that a potentially large- tonnage nickel deposit, which may be mineable by open pit, has been indicated. Mineralization extending north of the Texmont Mine has been found to continue for about 800 m along strike, increasing the overall strike length to approximately 1100 m.
“The I.P. and magnetic geophysical interpretations have been highly predictable in directing the drilling of the extension of the nickel mineralization to the north of the historical Texmont deposit,” said Vice-President of Exploration Joerg Kleinboeck, the Company’s Qualified Person. “There are substantial targets to the north and south of the Texmont deposit that we have identified from the prospecting, mapping, and geophysical programs completed in 2008 and 2009, that remain to be drill tested. This work is warranted to test the potential for additional nickel sulphide mineralization adjacent and along strike of the Texmont deposit”.
Metallurgical testing indicates good recoveries and concentration
In support of a future PEA, Fletcher Nickel has also initiated metallurgical test work at PRA Laboratories in Richmond, BC. Approximately 60 kg of nine mineral samples were selected from three drill cores obtained during the 2008 drilling program from each of the three geological zones (North, Main and South). Due to the early stages of the exploration program, only one drill-hole sample in each zone was selected for testing recognizing that such sample size may not be truly representative of the zone. The following table shows the origin of each of the nine samples sent for testing:
Interval Grade Grade
Zone Drill Hole From (m) To (m) (m) (%Ni) Category
North DDH Tex 08-49 158.0 166.0 8.0 0.64 High
192.0 197.0 5.0 0.47 Medium
197.0 206.0 9.0 0.23 Low
Main DDH Tex 08-32 350.5 360.0 10.5 2.20 High
345.0 350.5 5.5 0.63 Medium
374.0 383.0 9.0 0.30 Low
South DDH Tex 08-106 335.0 341.0 6.0 0.66 High
297.5 305.0 7.5 0.44 Medium
267.5 276.5 9.0 0.24 Low
The laboratory test program used split drill core that was blended into three composite samples, which varied by grade from 0.27% to 0.62% nickel, with similar sulphur values. The primary nickel bearing sulphide mineral was identified as pentlandite, with the major gangue consisting of fine-grained serpentine. The test work consisted of three scoping flotation tests on composited Low Grade (0.27% Ni), Medium Grade ((0.47% Ni) and High Grade (0.62% Ni). The results of the three bulk cleaning tests showed that the material upgraded well improving with the head grade, and producing concentrates in a range of 13% to 21% nickel. The third cleaner concentrate recovered from 38% to 49% Ni, using open cycle procedures, from the 0.27% to 0.62% nickel head grades respectively. This recovery would be expected to increase by the recycling of the stage 2 and 3 cleaner tailings and locked cycle testing would be required to more accurately estimate an operating plant recovery. These concentrates also contained elevated magnesium (primarily as talc), a concern in smelting.
The results are considered encouraging in that nickel concentration ratios of 30:1 to 50:1, were achieved. The nickel concentrate grades after three stages of cleaning ranged from 13% to 21%, with higher concentrate grades corresponding to higher feed grades. Further test work to optimize the flotation procedures has been included in a provisional continuing exploration budget. The potential quantity and grade are conceptual in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to define a mineral resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the target being delineated as a further mineral resource.
Carbonyl refining test demonstrates concentrate may be refined to
To examine a possible alternative to conventional smelting, the concentrates recovered from the PRA test work underwent a preliminary carbonylization refining test to determine their suitability for the production of high purity ferro-nickel and cobalt powders. Chemical Vapour Metal Refining Limited (CVMR(R)) of 35 Kenhar Drive, Toronto, www.cvmr.ca, has provided this technology for a carbonyl refinery in China which is now in production. This proprietary refining method utilizes the sulphur in a sulphide nickel concentrate to fuel its roasting which then, after reduction to metal, enables the concentrate’s metals to form carbonyl compounds which may then be precipitated in highly purified concentrations by selective distillation. A bench scale refining test was completed using the concentrates produced from the PRA Laboratories test work and a report submitted by N. Victor Emmanuel, P.Eng., of CVMR, titled: Report No.1: Nickel and Iron extraction from ore concentrate, dated August 15th, 2009. One sample of feed material (150 g) was delivered by PRA to CVMR(R) in June 2009. The first step of the test was to roast the material to remove sulphur and to produce a mixture of metal oxides. Roasting was done at 1050 degrees C in the static bed and the resulting mixture of metal oxides was reduced at 650 degrees C with hydrogen followed by carbonylation of the mixture at 600 psi. The report advised as follows:
“CVMR(R) was asked to demonstrate a possibility of extraction of Nickel, Cobalt and Iron directly from flotation concentrate. Feed material was provided by Fletcher Nickel and consisted approximately 15% of Nickel, 25% of Iron and 0.6% of Cobalt. Targeted metals were successfully extracted from the flotation concentrate with high yields without optimization of extraction parameters. Yields ( ) were 91% for Nickel, 95% for Iron and 78% for Cobalt. Future optimization of parameters should increase yields of Nickel above 95% and cobalt above 85%. Metal carbonyls were decomposed into metal powders. This indicated several product lines that could be used depending on market conditions. Ferronickel powder (3/5 Ni/Fe) could be produced without separation of Iron from Nickel. Alternatively, pure Nickel powder will be considered as a product after separation of Nickel and Iron carbonyls by distillation. A Process Flow Diagram consisting of 3 steps was proposed for the process. The first step is comprised of fluid bed roasting of the flotation concentrate where the produced SO(2) will be directed to an acid plant to produce sulphuric acid. Steps 2 and 3 are presented in the Figure 2 as integrated reduction and carbonylation plant. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen will be produced in the gas plant. Extraction of Nickel and Cobalt directly from flotation concentrate using the carbonyl process allows avoiding several steps usually used for production of Nickel. This will minimize CAPEX and OPEX of the plant and will make it possible to build an efficient smaller scale plant to produce 2000-4000 tons per annum.”
Baseline studies completed and site rehabilitation report submitted
The Company has filed a continuing rehabilitation report following its Texmont Mine site reclamation and has also completed all necessary baseline studies for the filing of applications to commence dewatering of the underground mine workings. “The Texmont Mine itself produced at a reported average grade of plus or minus 1% Ni and we have completed some scoping studies which indicate the ore body might be mined at a rate of up to 2000tpd from the existing shaft,” said CEO Frank Smeenk.
Joerg Kleinboeck, Vice President, Exploration, for Fletcher, is the qualified person within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101 that prepared or supervised the preparation of the information that forms the basis of the written disclosure in this news release. Mr. Kleinboeck has verified the data disclose, including sampling, analytical and test data underlying the information contained in this news release.
Forward Looking Information: This news release contains or refers to forward- looking information. All information other than statements of historical fact that address activities, events or developments that Fletcher Nickel believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements contained in this news release include statements regarding potential exploration results and mineralization at Fletcher Nickel’s Texmont Mine property, as a potentially large-tonnage nickel deposit, which may be mineable by open pit. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties beyond Fletcher Nickel’s ability to control or predict that may cause actual events or results to differ materially from those discussed in such forward-looking statements, including future exploration results varying significantly from estimates; exploration results being insufficiently favourable to support further development of the property, inability to delineate additional mineral resources or reserves, results of the metallurgical test work and data analysis dictating that parameters of a preliminary economic assessment may not be determined, or fully determined. Any forward-looking statement, speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, Fletcher Nickel disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise. Although Fletcher Nickel believes that the assumptions inherent in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, forward- looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and accordingly undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements due to the inherent uncertainty therein.
For further information: Bruce Hodgman, Communications Director, Direct: (416) 642-3575 (ext: 103), firstname.lastname@example.org
CO: Fletcher Nickel Inc. ST: Ontario NI: MNG FIELD -0- Sep/08/2009 17:10 GMT
Last Updated: September 8, 2009 13:10 EDT